Caterpillar Inc. unveiled Cat Microgrid technology, an innovative suite of systems that adds environmentally friendly solar panels, state-of-the-art energy storage, and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s traditional line of reliable power generation equipment.
Ideal for a broad range of applications such as industrial facilities, mining installations, remote villages, islands and rural communities, the Cat Microgrid technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions and reduce the total cost of ownership while increasing energy efficiency in even the most challenging environments.
Available worldwide through the Cat dealer network, Cat Microgrid technologies can be purchased as turnkey installations or design-to-order solutions. Ranging from 10 kW to 100 MW, units can be added in a modular fashion to create systems customized for a variety of power needs.
“With the declining cost of renewable energy sources and rapid advances in energy storage technology, the time is right to provide an integrated application for remote power,” said Rick Rathe, general manager of new ventures for Caterpillar’s Electric Power business. “Cat Microgrid technologies deliver an innovative, financially viable way to incorporate sustainable sources of energy into our existing portfolio of traditional power generation offerings.”
In a hybrid microgrid, renewable sources of energy can account for any percentage of the load depending on conditions. Excess energy produced by renewables is stored for stabilization as well as for use during unfavorable conditions. Generator sets supplement the system by powering the microgrid when energy from other sources is unavailable.
Cat Microgrid applications can include any combination of the following elements:
- Thin-film solar modules, which capture more energy, especially in high-temperature, high-humidity climates;
- Energy storage such as ultracapacitors, lithium-ion or rechargeable metal-air storage that provides the most economical and advanced energy storage with controls and monitoring down to the cell level;
- Cat generator sets powered by diesel, heavy fuel oil (HFO), natural gas, biogas or dual fuel, offering high power density, high-part load efficiencies and excellent capability to follow loads; and
- The Cat Microgrid Master Controller to monitor and optimize power usage in the microgrid.